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DaveMullins

Seeking first rig advice

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Hi everyone, 

I'm looking at getting my first real underwater rig. I'm currently using a GoPro Hero 7 and a Lumix FT7 (which I really don't like!). 

The majority of what I'm shooting will be large marine animals (sharks and alike) and people. Generally I'll be shooting while freediving and using natural light. Although I might get inside the odd cave so I do need decent low light performance. 

What I've been considering is a Canon 200D with a Ikelite housing with a standard 6inch dome. 

I'm mostly looking at this because it fits my budget and it's a reasonably small set up that won't kill me on deeper dives. 

I'm trying to avoid buying second hand for a variety of reasons, even if there are much better rigs available at the same price. 

So if anyone has any thoughts on this set up, or has better recommendations I'm happy to hear them! 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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Assuming you don't want to add strobes from your description and you want things nice and compact.   I'm guessing you pick the 200D on price point and a reasonable sized sensor?  The 200D is reasonable in low light but it is in fact very closely matched by the EM-1 MkII Olympus and the new Sony A6400 has a slight edge on it. 

I'm assuming by your subjects that you would be looking at a fisheye lens .  The advantage of the EM-1 MkII is you can use the little Panasonic fisheye and a 4" dome, nice and compact and in lower light f5.6 should be fine.  Downside is housing options are more expensive.  The olympus housings are OK, but finding someone stocking the ports in Australia could be an issue.  Bigger sensors you generally need to stop down more so the advantage is lost in ambient light. 

With the 200D you would be looking at the Tokina 10-17 which is around $900 or the Canon 8-15mm which is $1900.  the 10-17 is OK but not the sharpest knife in the drawer.    Also be aware that the 200D ikelite housing  uses DLM ports so the range of ports available is limited.  and the ikelite housings while functional are rather boxy.

You could also look at an A6400 in a Fantasea housing for  a little less than the ikelite $1100 for the housing but you may find a port for the fisheye lens more expensive, the port for the Sony 10-18 is $750.  It does have a vacuum warning system included.  All prices are Aussie prices.  That could be a good option if the 10-18 lens meets your needs.  This is the Fantasea line port chart.  http://www.fantasea.com/downloads/FMLLensPortChart.pdf

Whatever you do look at the whole system for price and options like port availability. 

 

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Hey, thanks for the advice. To be honest it's really tricky knowing exactly what I'll need for the whole system. I hadn't even factored in a wide lens! My biggest concern is certainly price - the 200d is quite affordable right now, so it was high on my list. A lot of people have talked about the Sony A6400, so maybe I need to spend a little more and go that way, it seems like it might be a little more simple. 

 

Thanks again!

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You really need to look at the whole picture lens and port availability and costs, housing availability and price.  The cheapest camera is not always the best solution.  Being located in Australia costs can be higher and availability of the ports you may want can be an issue. 

For example the Fantasea and port for 10-18 can be purchased from underwater australia. but they don't list anything to allow you to use a fisheye.  You could end up having to order in the fisheye port from overseas.  Sony don't make a native fisheye so you would be using a Canon mount lens either the Tokina 10-17 or Canon 8-15 on a metabones adapter if you wanted to go fisheye. 

Second hand is a great option for housings as they tend to go for 50% of the new price or less, though it can be a long wait in Australia to buy or sell.

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